On October 16, civic TV approach Qazaqstan aired the aboriginal adventure of a new account diplomacy blue-blooded “Talim Trend,” which, according to the description, “addresses important amusing issues, including people’s diplomacy shaped by the pandemic, ancestors values, old and new traditions, calm violence, parenting, and children’s assurance and rights.” (“Talim” is a Kazakh chat for edification, education, upbringing). Continued afore the 40-minute appearance accomplished an audience, it was appear that its host would be Mukhamedzhan Tazabek, a adherent Islamic celebrity, accepted for his arguable comments and acute adherence to the state. The account was met with a abundant backlash on the allotment of Kazakh-speaking audiences. Abounding characterization Tazabek a propagandist, seeing him as affiliated with high-profile political abstracts and benefitting from those ties.
A Preacher, Poet, and Media Manager
Tazabek comes from an aitys background, an improvised articulate balladry articulate accompanied by a dombra. He came to bulge in the 1990s afterwards his success in aitys tournaments. The ascendant Nur Otan affair has continued adjourned aitys and uses the average to advance the party’s agenda. Tazabek begin in the affair a safe anchorage and admission to the political elite.
Tazabek’s approved media appearances and aerial afterimage brought him a massive afterward on Instagram (1.4 million) and Facebook (48,000). He is the administrator of Asyl Arna, the abandoned Kazakh TV approach focused on teaching Islam, which he founded in 2007. He maintains a YouTube approach with the aforementioned name, launched in backward 2019 and absolute 268 lectures, in which he appears both abandoned and on date afore the accessible (the approach has added than 159,000 subscribers).
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A Scandalist and a “Statesman”
The capacity Tazabek covers in his videos are not abandoned religious, but additionally accommodate “spiritual” topics: friendship, ancestors values, adamantine work, how to advance a Kazakh way of life, account for parents and the elderly, and abounding others. What makes Tazabek angle out is that not abandoned does his amount adumbrate that of added Islamic figures, but as an orator, he speaks in a acceptable appearance acknowledgment to his anapestic abilities and affluent vocabulary. Despite the actuality that Tazabek prefers accidental or archetypal dress to religious garb, an old angel featuring him with a continued bristles still haunts him.
It is account acquainted that he has been complex in assorted scandals that go far above amusing media. Last year, Tazabek was beneath blaze afterwards a accumulation of his lectures akin on YouTube, area he was active a alternation of seminars for accustomed bodies and law administration personnel. In the video Tazabek reacts to the beachcomber of protests in 2019: He lashed out at Mukhtar Ablyazov, calling the action figure’s activities provocative, advocated a badge crackdown, and appropriate that Kazakhs and rallies are incompatible. There were additionally claims fabricated that ambulatory on the streets had never been the “Kazakh way” of absolute issues; abandoned men should accord with problems, and do so afterwards the charge to go to the artery or get women and kids involved.
“God gave us such a astute ruler. We charge acknowledge him. Active a accompaniment with a well-functioning arrangement is easy, but architecture a country from blemish and at the aforementioned time ensuring its adjustment – this is the adjudicator any nation can dream of,” he said of Nazarbayev. Bodies beheld the animadversion as Tazabek’s attempts to reinforce policemen’s adherence to the state. He additionally hinted that bodies are to accusation for what they’ve got themselves into, but not the state, “which abandoned wishes acceptable to its citizens.”
His animadversion on women’s dress were addition atom for accessible outrage. Tazabek claimed that half-naked women account abstention and prostate blight in men and that women accept become added adorable and clean-cut and appropriately actualize added problems for men. “Not abandoned do half-naked women ruin their own health, but additionally abort men’s. If this keeps activity this way, again nations will artlessly be wiped off as bodies won’t be able to reproduce; in adoration women are banned from cutting absolute outfits. But those who boring at such (naked) women are sinners.” Tazabek appropriate that these are scientifically accurate facts.
For this he was satirically branded a “sexolog-samouchka” (a sexologist and a self-educated man), a appellation coined by Serik Abas-shah, a accepted media administrator and amusing media influencer, who is additionally accepted for viral memes he makes to apish politicians and added figures, including Tazabek.
Tazabek’s adherence to the administration and accompaniment institutions, however, is now advantageous off: In September he met with Nurlan Nigmatullin, the Majilis (lower abode of Parliament) chairman. According to Tazabek, they brought up a cardinal of issues, including youth, advice policy, airy values, avant-garde trends. Shortly after, in mid-October, the official amusing media accounts of the Senate aggregate a column featuring Maulen Ashimbayev (the high house’s chair) who was presenting Tazabek with an acknowledgment letter in acceptance of Tazabek’s efforts “in deepening interethnic and interreligious harmony, announcement acceptable ethics and attention accord of Kazakhstani people.”
Tazabek additionally advance above Kazakhstan, and runs lectures on moral issues at universities, schools, and added organizations.
Shalkar Nurseitov, an Almaty-based political analyst, commendations this as dangerous. In a Facebook column this month, he said Tazabek’s accession by accompaniment figures, such as Ashimbayev and Nigmatullin, is above comprehension. “When one being absolutely endorses the additional (in politics), it agency that the above shares the latter’s values. For instance, booty the US: Cindy McCain, backward John McCain’s widow, forth with several adolescent Republicans accept absitively to endorse not Trump, but Democrat Biden. This is a arresting for both the GOP and voters. But aback politicians in absolute Kazakhstan host and acknowledge propagandists like Tazabekov, it agency ‘I acknowledge your account to the regime’. This is a alarming arresting for the country.”
A Fresh Scandal
So why has the new diplomacy on the TV approach generated accessible discontent? Primarily, anti-Tazabek affect is fueled by his black acceptability and the apropos that he may construe arguable credo through the accompaniment TV, let abandoned added platforms area he managed to allure followers. Qazaqstan is the country’s oldest TV approach and has one of the bigger viewerships. It plays a key role in the accomplishing of the state’s brainy policies. Apart from its account account and programs on accepted affairs, the TV approach places a huge accent on ethnic-centered and patriotic-themed content. In 2011 Qazaqstan started broadcasting abandoned in the Kazakh accent and was one of the aboriginal to Latinize its logo and the names of its programs in 2017. Kazakhstan Media Corporation, of which the TV approach is a part, is a primary almsman of accompaniment money and has a arrangement of branches above Kazakhstan’s regions.
In acknowledgment to the account about the new program, Kazakh amusing media abounding with abrogating comments: “Height of absurdity,” “Utterly unacceptable move,” “Do they akin apprehend the force of the situation? Tazabek isn’t declared to be there,” “This will backfire,” “Tazabek is a blackmail to our civic security,” “He angle the apple through a religious lens,” “Kazakhstan is a civil country and there should be no allowance for bodies like him on a accompaniment TV.”
The clamor was broad, with abounding amusing media influencers and experts akin announcement their dismay.
Aya Begim, a journalist, acquaint on Facebook calling for the appearance to be canceled. The column has garnered abounding brand and comments and been aggregate about 600 times. In her post, Begim captivated a photo of herself captivation a assurance that reads “Talim Trend diplomacy charge be closed. I’m against!”
“Why wouldn’t he accumulate accomplishing his baneful preachings on his Instagram? Our TV channels charge advantageous programs on ecology, how to assure nature, animal rights, and accurate content! Let’s appeal together! Don’t break silent!” Begim wrote in her post.
Aigul Orynbek, an activist from Shymkent and a NSOD affiliate (National Council of Accessible Trust, chaired by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev) is addition influencer who has accounting abundantly on the matter. In one of her abounding posts, the blogger with about 40,000 followers on Facebook, angrily criticizes the accompaniment TV channel’s best in acceding Tazabek a show. Orynbek says that the civic TV approach is gradually acceptable affable adjoin “religious fanatics.”
“It is no best the civic TV approach but a abode for barbate men! No accompaniment allotment for this approach anymore! Civic Aegis Committee should investigate it!” Orynbek wrote. The column additionally went viral and has accumulated massive abutment and shares.
A few canicule ago, accepted Kazakh media aperture Qamshy.kz started an online poll to apprentice how bodies acquainted about the show. So far, the abstracts assume to announce massive opposition, with the amount continuing at 639 (11 percent) of readers cogent approval, and 5,014 (89 percent) advertence the adverse to date. (The poll is still active so those abstracts may shift).
Aware of the advancing advance adjoin him, Tazabek was quick to blaze back: He appealed to his viewers, adage that the diplomacy is educational and is aimed to appearance the appropriate aisle to the people, abnormally the adolescent generation, that “has absent account to the aged and become captivated to YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.”
“Is there commodity amiss with that? What abuse there can be if we acquaint our acceptable ethics to the civil society, and altercate the appulse of bourgeois and advanced values?” Tazabek wrote in an Instagram post. “For the accomplished twenty years I’ve been audition from bodies that I am a Wahhabi, I get allotment from the Arabs and that I accomplish because I’m on the authorities’ side,” he added. Tazabek assured that Talim Trend’s aim is not to advance a religious agenda, but he will be adopting important amusing issues.
‘Talim Trend’: Don’t Mess With the Police?
The aboriginal adventure of the appearance was committed to the cachet of the Kazakh badge and people’s analysis of them. The diplomacy commences with Tazabek and his aide introducing two guests, a badge arch from Almaty and a poet-aitysker, and agreeable the son of Gaziz Baitasov — a badge administrator dead in the band of assignment during an advance in Taraz in 2011 by a doubtable Islamic active to the studio.
One of the basic account accurate by the host and commentators was that the accessible analysis of the badge is now at its lowest. Discussions on the diplomacy mainly revolved about the role of the Kazakh badge in advancement accord and adjustment and their demonization and biting by people.
Tazabek echoed his antecedent comments that protests and rallies are not a “Kazakh” thing, adage they go adjoin the nation’s philosophy. According to him, families should advance able and accurate Kazakh behaviors in bringing up their children: Kazakhs are not Europeans, Kazakhs acclimated to achieve arguments afterwards the captivation of law enforcement.
The hosts advance emblematic techniques in their speeches and, to complete added compelling, they adduce actual figures. For instance, the hosts acclimated quotes from an commodity by Alash bookish Mirzhakyp Dulatov, ‘“People afterwards guards are slaves,” appear in a Kazakh bi-weekly in 1918. They said that the Kremlin basic to accomplishment badge for awful purposes adjoin non-Russians. According to the hosts, the bookish claimed that if the badge force is comprised of indigenous Kazakhs, they would never abuse their own people. “Our altercation today is in band with Dulatov’s angle – we don’t appetite badge to be demonized – instead, if we appetite our accompaniment to be able – our badge should be strong,” suggests Tazabek in the episode.
“Unfortunately, the bodies who criticize Akorda [the presidential palace] are beheld as heroes, but in absoluteness they accept done annihilation to change the bearings for the bigger – they are ‘divannye kritiki’ [“sofa critics” or “armchair activists”]. A absolute boldness is not about sitting at home and cursing the authorities, but proving it with absolute deeds. Badge admiral are today’s heroes,” Tazabek’s guest, the poet-aitysker, says.
In the program, Rakhat Zhaksybai, who runs the appearance with Tazabek, provides Washington Column abstracts on deaths acquired by badge in the United States. He says that amid 2005 and 2019, abandoned 42 out of 5,000 admiral were begin guilty, while the blow got away. “That agency that American badge accept an amnesty from prosecution,” Zhaksybai says to aback up his altercation that the majority weren’t answerable because they had to do it (kill) to assure themselves.
“We charge to become the nation area every ancestors could achieve their issues aboriginal afore ambulatory or ambitious from the authorities. If we appetite the accompaniment listens to us, we should deserve it.” Tazabek goes on to say that citizens can participate in affairs already the ability of ambulatory is abstruse and captivated properly, but for now Kazakhs are bigger off if they get forth with anniversary added first.
The appearance culminates with Tazabek commendation Lenin that “under the able state, the individual’s rights are limited, but aback bodies are accustomed added abandon – the nation is bedevilled to destruction.”
Issatay Minuarov is an analyst active in the Kazakh capital. He holds an MA amount in Sociology from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
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